Search Engine Optimisation Is Not Just Link Building Posted on January 14, 2015 by Gary If you are new to running a website and are inexperienced in trading online. If acronyms like SERPS, PR or META make you a little uneasy then, in a nutshell, you are vulnerable to the unscrupulous companies that offer poor quality Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the form of link building. Drop shipping is about making money. It’s your new business venture and you want your new website in Google and bringing in visitors. Those of us that have been working on the Internet for many years know this isn’t going to happen without a little bit of work. SEO. What is it? It could be described as the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s search results. These days we all tend to focus on Google but remember Bing and Yahoo still have around 30% market share. If turning to an SEO company to help you achieve your goals and enhance your websites pages in the search engines results pages (SERPS) is part of your plan, you will expect them to have your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and I want to outline one of the main things to avoid as we are seeing people spend money on SEO practices that will no longer work. SEO. What shouldn’t it be? A way of manipulating the search engines to increase your visibility. What I mean by this is if you or a company you hire try and trick the search engines to give you better ranking by fake activities and manipulative methods. If you think the latter is going to work. Ask yourself. Do you think you can manipulate Google, a company that makes $50 billion a year and has some of the greatest tech minds on the planet on its payroll? Why do some SEO companies think they can manipulate Google? This is an easy answer. Because you used to be able to, using methods like link building to force websites higher up in the Google SERPS. Even after the search engines have evolved its easy money to sell things to business owners who are unaware of the changes. Link building. Why? Google uses a method called Page Rank (PR) to determine the importance of a web page. This was how Google made its name and how groundbreaking Google was when it started taking market share over the other basic search engines on the Internet back in the late 90s. In a nutshell Google uses an algorithm based on other websites linking to your website. The more links you had meant the more popular your website must be. In turn, you were ranked higher. Over time SEO companies realised such a method of ranking sites could be manipulated and started to sell link building packages left, right and centre. Companies invested money in entire networks of servers. Each server contained hundreds of fake websites, back linking to each other. Link farms is what they came to be known. They would hire offices in the far east and India filled with cheap labour pumping out links hour after hour. 25 years on. Things are far more sophisticated. Hundreds of other factors are now taken into account when ranking a website. It’s constantly changing and if you try and be sneaky. I can assure you, you will lose. Over the years Google’s algorithms became more and more sophisticated and then finally it made some critical changes. Firstly in February 2011 with the Panda update and then again in April 2012 with the Penguin update. These two huge updates were to deal with spammy manipulative tactics. Waves of anguish rippled through the forums on the internet as websites started to drop off the radar as Google cleaned up these websites that had spent money manipulating its index with link building tactics. Even well-known household names were suddenly dropping. Interflora, Halifax Bank and the travel giant Expedia to name a few. What to look out for. Links are still a big factor in determining search rankings but it has evolved massively over the last few years. If your SEO firm offers you something like this picture please run a mile. A good SEO company will still have a link building strategy as part of the overall campaign they offer you. It should only be an element of what they do for you. If it is done in the wrong way you will end being penalised by Google who has 70% of the internet search market share. Acquiring a toxic backlink profile is the last thing you need. The Penguin 3.0 algorithm which went live on 17th October 2014 specifically targeted backlinks. a) Instead of amassing irrelevant links you should only be obtaining links on sites which add value or increase your reputation. Will the link bring genuine relevant traffic? b) The links should only come from quality related sites to your niche. If you are running a bondage store. A link from a website about cars is going to do more damage than good. Leave it off. c) Natural links should not be over optimised with spammy anchor text. e.g. “bondage shop” will be penalised whereas “click this site”, “Your URL” or brand anchors will be fine. d) Although you are selling adult goods. Google classes these websites as non-family if you’re content isn’t explicit. Do not get into relationships with Pornographic content providers as you will be at a risk of being classified as pornographic. Your website will then only be found if users have specifically turned off the explicit filtering deep in the search engines setting page. All search engines have this set at a medium setting as standard and you will lose out on a lot of traffic. Fake it until you make it doesn’t work. Developing links for traffic, visibility, and reputation is the only way to go. If you are not sure, your safest and the best strategy is to focus on improving your site and the content on your site. High-quality original content is what the search engines are really looking to place at the top of the SERPS. Over the years I have seen too many drop shippers suffer the wrath of Google. Don’t be another statistic especially if you have spent your hard earned money on a web designed shop. How to get shafted. Spend hundreds of pounds a month on link building. Elation and joy as the site pops into the SERPS reasonably high. Orders will come flooding in. Google doesn’t notice immediately but once it’s had time to analyse the backlink profile at around the 12 week mark its all over. You cant recover the site. The site is too young to really clean up a toxic link profile. You may as well bin the entire site and start again. Obtaining real links. Produce high-quality content that will be of interest. The type of content which takes time to create is well thought out and is ultimately linkable and shareable. Content like this will be of interest to other sites and naturally, will be linked to and shared on social media circles. It’s these kinds of links which Google are looking for – i.e. natural “earned” links. A thought? Would a PR company be more effective than an SEO company? What about content marketing? These methods will without question bring natural “earned” backlinks (Click here) Did you see what happened there? I gave you the option to click on a link which holds relevant content to what we are talking about. They have written something that is useful. I have shared it with you. +1 For them! If you would like to discuss an SEO strategy that you have been given by an SEO company or if you have a proposal that you would like one of our staff to check please get in touch. We will ensure you are not wasting your money or buying into a campaign that could be damaging to your new business website. I will go into a full SEO strategy in the next post but for now please STOP BULK link building if you are already engaged in such practices.